Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The March Hare Meets The Easter Bunny

Once upon a time--say 200 A.D.--Saxons celebrated a spring fertility ritual to honor the goddess Ostara, whose signature animal was the hare. We know, from Alice in Wonderland, that the March Hare is an unpredictable animal with a voice like Jerry Colona, so we shouldn't be surprised the March Hare would, at this time of the year (March) get confused in the minds of some people (Pagans, maybe) with the Easter Bunny.
People ask: If the Easter Bunny brings brightly colored eggs, what does the Easter Chicken bring? (batteries for the bunny)
Anyway, we mark Easter as a Christian holiday to honor the resurrection of Jesus. This year, the observance is on March 23, just a few days after the first day of Spring. From the proximity of the two, we can see how the early Christians could capitalize upon the prevailing Pagan practices and turn them into Christian practices. So we have the Easter Bunny. We also got the egg idea from even older Vernal festivals, in which the Romans and Greeks used eggs as symbols of fertility, rebirth and abundance (naturally). Eggs were all over the place in those days, because spring and fertility are naturally linked. The hare--be it the March Hare or the Easter Bunny, is often associated with moon goddesses (In Japan, the moon shows a bunny pounding rice into mochi.), so the egg and the rabbit are often pictured together in that context.
It seems fair to Pagans, Christians and basically anyone anticipating the arrival of spring to take this time to enjoy the changing of the season and a chance to see the world in a fresh light. I'll take my Easter Eggs over easy please.

(Learn more about Easter traditions here: http://wilstar.com/holidays/easter.htm